Sony Will Win The VR War on The PS5

Virtual Reality has finally gone from a pipe dream, to something you can buy and experience on a PlayStation console. Competition has been fierce from the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive, but Microsoft has been lagging behind in this department. Meanwhile, more and more companies are coming out with epic experiences on PlayStation VR as the catalog grows by the week. Recent sales numbers are showing strong adoption of this new hardware, and while Microsoft is finally discussing VR in more detail, it’s clear that Sony is ahead of the pack. When PS5 releases, it will have the power (and possibly the VR headset) to beat them all. Join us as we look at all the evidence pointing to a future where Sony rules the VR playing field. PlayStation VR Selling Strong, Competition is Lagging After its launch in the final months of 2016, everyone wanted to know how PlayStation VR was selling. Would it soar high and break Sony’s track record of under-performing peripherals (sorry PlayStation Move)? There were plenty of naysayers who wanted to shoot it down, but in early 2017, Sony started talking numbers. Andrew House, global chief executive of Sony Interactive Entertainment, spoke with The New York Times and mentioned some specifics about the sales of their VR headset and how they stacked up against expectations. Andrew House himself was concerned about how quickly the market would jump on the VR bandwagon: “It’s the classic case in any organization, the guys who are on the front end in sales are getting excited, very hyped up. You have to temper that with other voices in the company, myself among them, saying let’s just be a little bit careful.” They decided not to manufacture as many as you would expect, and as a result, there was a major shortage in stores everywhere, Japan especially. During his interview with The New York Times, Andrew House revealed that as of February 19th, 2017, PSVR had sold 915,000 headsets in four months since launch. The internal goals for Sony were a million headsets in the first six months. Andrew House mentioned in his interview that “You literally have people lining up outside stores when they know stock is being replenished,” when he was describing the atmosphere in Japan. Clearly Sony is set to meet or exceed these expectations. These numbers also place Sony at the forefront of VR success. In terms of premium headsets, PlayStation VR is the lowest price point at $399. While Oculus, Facebook, and HTC haven’t shared their sales numbers yet, research from SuperData Research has estimate that Oculus Rift sold about 243,000 and HTC Vive sold 420,000 by the end of 2016. Comparing all of this to other technology launches, one of the most successful launches was the iPhone first three months in 2007 in which it sold 1.4 million units. On the software side of things, Sony is enjoying massive engagement with VR since the launch of Resident Evil 7, which supported the entire game in … Read More

Michael Pachter: Sony Will Wait on PS5 Until After The Next Xbox Releases

Hardcore gamers have probably heard about Michael Pachter. He’s an analyst at Webbush Securities and famous for his gaming predictions. He’s right every once and a while, but I wouldn’t call him gaming’s Nostradamus. Even so, it’s always interesting to see what he thinks and compare it with our own thoughts. To this end, he has revealed yet another prediction during a podcast. He seems to believe that Sony is going to wait and see what happens with Project Scarlett before they go public with PS5. How does that make you feel? Is that even something we think is possible? It’s time to discuss. Pachter’s Prediction: A Hint of Truth? Pachter’s predictions are often met with mixed reactions from the community. Sometimes he’s pretty close, but other times he makes a vast majority of the community’s eyes roll. We’ve got a new prediction from him, courtesy of an interview with GamingBolt where he mentioned a new prediction about the PS5. According to Pachter, they could be waiting on Microsoft: “I’m sure Microsoft intends to launch first, and I am equally certain that the new Xbox will be backwards compatible with any Xbox One X software. I agree that it’s hard for Xbox One X purchasers, but they should know 4 years into a cycle that there is another one coming. My guess is that Microsoft intends to launch in 2020, but if they think Sony is going to launch the PS5 then, they will launch early.. Let’s dive in and see how I feel about these predictions. Michael Pachter’s Vision For The PS5: Releasing in 2019? Michael Pachter spoke with Gaming Bolt in the wake of Shawn Layden’s PS5 comments, and of course, the analyst had some predictions to throw out for those interested in his wisdom. Pachter confirmed his beliefs that the PS5 will indeed be backwards compatible, but he also mentioned a release date: 2019. In Pachter’s words: “The PlayStation 4 Pro is better (from a technical perspective) than the PS4, so I think that’s a half step towards the PlayStation 5. I think the PS5 will another half step. It will surely support 4K. Will it support 240 frames per second? Great. Will it play games that were made for the PlayStation 4 Pro? That’s the question. I think it will. So I think they will build a console that will be backwards compatible with the PS4 Pro. So I think it will be perceived by the consumers to be a half step and I think Shawn is telling the truth when he says it will be a full-fledged console.” Pachter went on to explain his prediction, saying that Sony is waiting for the 4K market to mature more before they release their new console. He admits that it could be 2019 or 2020, but leans towards the former. According to his predictions, Sony already has the PS5 nailed down, they’re just waiting for the timing to be right. Breaking Down Pachter’s Claims: A Few Hits and … Read More

Why The PS5 Will Run at 8 Teraflops For True 4K

When new consoles are announced, people want to know what it can do, and how powerful it is. While the typical consumer isn’t interested in RAM, GPU, or teraflops, hardcore games absolutely want to know what’s under the hood. Knowing the specs of a system empowers us to make a lot of predictions as to what it will be able to accomplish. Today we’re going to look at the teraflop, and what it does for a console’s power. Then we’ll look at the PS4 Pro’s specs, and why the PS5 will hit the fabled 8 teraflops to play games in native 4K. Uh, Remind Me Again: What’s a Teraflop? The term “flop” refers to a floating point operation. This is a basic measurement of computational power. At the heart of both Sony and Microsoft consoles are chipsets manufactured by AMD. To calculate the teraflops of a console, you follow this formula: multiply the amount of shader cores by the clock-speed, then multiply that by two. That last step is to account for each clock (one multiply, one accumulate operation) that runs simultaneously. This will get you a huge number, so we divide that by one million and that will give us a teraflop measurement. Let’s look at an example, using the Xbox One and PS4: Xbox One: 768 shaders (x) 853MHz (x) 2 instructions per clock = 1,310,208 megaflops or 1.31 teraflops PS4: 1280 shaders (x) 800MHz (x) 2 instructions per clock = 1,843,200 megaflops or 1.84 teraflops So how does this apply to games as a whole? Well, we have to remember that teraflops are a very basic measurement and only apply to computational power. You have to consider several other factors before you can make a prediction on the performance of a machine. The software drivers and architecture of the GPU also contribute to the overall performance. It’s about efficiency as much as it is importance. On paper, for example, the PS4 Pro is 2.3x more powerful than the PS4, but a 40% increase in computational power doesn’t necessarily equal out to a 40% increase in performance. When it comes down to it, teraflops alone cannot define a console or PC’s performance. There are other factors like the GPU’s memory bandwidth that play into the equation. Thus far in the console war, the Xbox One’s 1.31 teraflops has been at a distinct disadvantage when compared to the PS4’s 1.84 teraflops. This is also a result of the Xbox One’s lower memory bandwidth. Developers have been very good at handling the difference in specs over the course of the generation, but we’ve seen resolutions swing wildly between the two consoles. What the PS4 runs in 1080p runs at 900p or lower on Xbox. The same situation may become the case with Xbox 2 (Project Scorpio) and PS4 Pro. Microsoft is targeting native 4K and 6 teraflops with their new console, but how they will manage that remains to be seen. There are some who believe that 6TF won’t be … Read More

The 4K Dilemma: How PS5 Will do What PS4 Pro Won’t

The PS4 Pro (previously known as the PS4.5 or PS4 Neo), releases in November of 2016. For the first time in the gaming industry, we’ll have a new console release with better hardware and more capabilities that still exists within the same generation. That’s right, the PS4 Pro is not the PS5, it’s something new. Furthermore, the extra power isn’t able to run games in native 4K as of yet. Instead, Sony has opted to upscale games to this higher resolution. Combine this with the lack of a 4K Blu-Ray player, and you have to wonder how all of this fits together. Today, we’ll break down the details of the PS4 Pro and ultimately use it to peek into the future and find out what Sony is planning for the PS5. Mark Cerny Breaks Down the PS4 Pro Mark Cerny is the system architect for PlayStation. He’s also been involved with countless other game franchises like Crash Bandicoot, Uncharted, Spyro, and even Ratchet & Clank. He worked on the PS4 and now he’s sat down with The Verge to talk about the approaches he took to PS4 Pro. It’s safe to say that Mark, and his wonderfully smooth voice, will also be the architect on the PS5. Moments like these offer a lot of great insight into what he and Sony are thinking. For starters, the PS4 Pro is indeed 2.28 times more powerful than the PS4. The first caveat, even with this power, is that not everything will run in native 4K resolutions. When asked about the new GPU, Cerny revealed that it’s not actually new. Instead, they decided to install a second GPU that’s almost identical to the first one with a 14% boost to 911MHz. The standard PS4 hits 1.8 teraflops, but the Pro is bringing 4.2 teraflops to the table. The same eight Jaguar CPU cores are being used, but they’ve been clock at higher speeds. Furthermore, the RAM has a higher bandwidth, and they’ve also added an additional gig of conventional RAM to boost the speed of menu applications and switching between them. This power allows the system to hit native 4K in certain situations, and what Cerny calls “extremely close to 4K” in others. For games like Call of Duty and Horizon: Zero Dawn, the system uses a workaround called checkerboard rendering. This allows the system to reach 2160p resolution by changing the way pixels are arranged so the resolution is in fact higher. Other games will use this same technique to run in 1080p. As you may already know, a shocking amount of titles only run at roughly 900p on PS4, so this will also offer a boost for 1080p television owners. Games will require a “Pro” mode or a patch to take advantage of the extra hardware. This means that games will run the same on the new system unless modified to use the extra power. For 1080p television owners, the difference won’t be huge, but developers can use this power to … Read More

PS4’s System Software 4.0 Update Means The PS5 isn’t Coming Anytime Soon

Sony has been teasing the big 4.00 firmware update for the PS4 and now that have information on what it will add to the current PlayStation experience, it’s clear to see that the PS4 and the upcoming PS4 Neo are here to stay. The PlayStation 5 may still be a few years off, but this update showcases a renewed interest in refreshing and redesigning the PS4’s features, and that’s fine with us. Today we’ll look at the features coming in the 4.00 update and how they signal a reboot of the PS4’s cycle in the wake of the Slim and Pro models that are on the horizon. PS4 System Update 4.00: New Features and a UI Refresh PS4’s upcoming update is codenamed Shingen, according to the PlayStation Blog. Users who signed up for the beta will get a taste of the new features, but let’s take a look at everything that’s coming in this new update: 1. A User Interface Refresh The term “refresh” is used in gaming when a new model comes out or an update overhauls the current standards to set a new precedent for the future. It all starts with new system backgrounds and a redone “What’s New” tab on the main menu. The system icons and the popup notifications have also seen changes. It’s supposed to be similar to the look and feel of the original design, but it should be a little easier to use. 2. New Quick Menu Normally when you hold the PS button on the DualShock 4, you get a quick menu that covers the whole screen. Not so, with this new update. Now you’ll still be able to see most of the screen, thus removing the need to leave your game entirely. With this new quick menu, you can see which friends are online, access your party, and you’ll have the ability to customize what it shows. 3. Share Menu Updates The Share Menu has also seen some love. It will now only cover a portion of the screen and save the last network you shared a screenshot or video to. In addition, video clips can be uploaded up to 140 seconds in length on Twitter (it was previously 10 seconds). 4. Folders and Organization Features A huge request people have been asking for, myself included, are folders to organize your content on the PS4. This update wil allow you to group games and apps together for quick and easy navigation. The library has been given a separate section for purchased titles and one for content you have installed. You can also search for items in your library as well and choose from sorting options. 5. Trophy Changes You’ll be able to view you trophies offline in this new update, and you can also see the contents of hidden trophies. The rarity level of trophies will also be represented with a pyramid icon that fills and shows ultra-rate trophies at the top. 6. User Profile Changes The user profile will now … Read More

The PS5 Will Be Backwards Compatible, Thanks to Microsoft

Every time a new console is announced, the first question on everyone’s minds is “will it be backwards compatible?” We are happy to tell you that on 4/16/19 Playstation’s Mark Cerny confirmed the PS5 will be backwards compatible with PS4 games in an interview with Wired Magazine. That being said the fear of a new generation invalidating all of our purchases from the previous one is very real in gamers everywhere. The very structure of the PS4 was completely different than the PS3, which was the basis for why Sony said the PS4 could not be backwards compatible. Even so, they’ve made concessions here and there. Looks like they are getting it right for the PS5. Meanwhile. Microsoft is making more and more Xbox 360 games compatible on the Xbox One every week. Sony’s been backed into a corner. It’s time to bring out the claws and make backwards compatibility a feature on PS5. Thankfully, rumors are pointing to this being the case. PS5 Backwards Compatibility: All The Latest Evidence The PS4 is absolutely killing it this generation, with millions of consoles now comfortably sitting in gamer’s homes. That’s an impressive install base, but if Sony releases a brand new console without backwards compatibility, they would essentially starting from scratch. Yes, the PS4 would continue to exist for several years, but when it comes time for the PS4 to go the way of the dodo bird, all those gamers will have a huge library of games that they can no longer play on PS5. It doesn’t make sense any way you slice it, and with Microsoft already offering backwards compatibility on Xbox One X, so Sony had to step up. Here is what some of the evidence was that Sony was going to include backwards comparability: Software Testing Patent If you’re feeling like you need more technical documentation in your life, you should check out this full patent listing from Sony. If you’d rather get to the point of it all, here’s a quick excerpt: “If the CPUs of the new device have lower performance than the CPUs of the legacy device, many errors in a legacy application may arise due to the inability to meet real-time deadlines imposed by display timing, audio streamout or the like. If the CPUs of the new device have substantially higher performance than the CPUs of the legacy device, many errors in a legacy application may arise due to the untested consequences of such high speed operation.” Breaking this down, the excerpt describes an issue with running legacy software on more or less powerful CPUs. If the hardware is more powerful, such as the case with PS5, there could be unintended consequences of throwing an older game into this new environment. The goal of this patent is to create a timing testing mode that can “disrupt” the processors and test for errors while in this mode. On it’s own, this doesn’t guarantee anything, but it does prove that the concept of backwards compatibility was … Read More

PS4.5 Will Surprise Microsoft and Crush Scorpio’s Performance

PS4.5 vs XBox 2 Scorpio – See video below</em For the first time since the dawn of gaming, we’re seeing new hardware coming out in the middle of a generation. I’m not talking about a “slim” model either. The PS4 Neo (PS4.5) and Project Scorpio (Xbox 2) are true leaps forward in terms of power. Both are confirmed, but the specs haven’t been finalized for either one. Even without that information, there’s still a lot to be found when we read between the lines. Microsoft is confident that Project Scorpio will be the most powerful console ever built, but their focus is all out of whack. Meanwhile, Sony’s made it clear that PS4.5 is all about power. Read on to find out why this gamer believes the PS4.5 will crush Scorpio when it releases. Project Scorpio: Microsoft’s Caged Beast When Phil Spencer took the stage at E3 2016 and announced Project Scorpio, the crowd went wild. I was personally surprised that they were talking about a new console over a year before its release. He didn’t provide many details beyond the fact that it would be “the most powerful console ever built.” This had the PlayStation fan within me worried, but since that big announcement, new information from the big man himself makes me wonder what Microsoft is planning to do with Scorpio. During an interview with Eurogamer, Phil Spencer shed new light on Scorpio’s purpose and place in the new Xbox Family. In the same breath that he announced Project Scorpio, he also announced Xbox One S. One is clearly more powerful than the other, so why would anyone purchase the S when they can have the power of Scorpio in holiday 2017? In Phil Spencer’s words: “Scorpio is designed as a 4K console, and if you don’t have a 4K TV, the benefit we’ve designed for, you’re not going to see. Clearly you can buy Scorpio, and if and when you decide you want to buy a 4K television to take advantage of the increased performance, obviously the console will be ready for you.” He told customers that they should just stick with Xbox One S, because Scorpio isn’t going to do anything for you unless you have a 4K TV. We all know that extra power is needed to run games in 4K, but if that’s all Scorpio is going to do, what about all that talk concerning the most powerful console ever built? This is where Microsoft’s other decision to create an “Xbox Family” comes into play. Microsoft is planning on keeping everything level with their new releases: “That fact that when you buy an Xbox One and start creating your game library and when you buy Scorpio those games and accessories and everything are going to run, make it feel like part of the Xbox One family to me. That’s why we communicate it that way. That was also part of the design point of the box.” I’m all game for backwards compatibility, but Microsoft … Read More

PS5 to counter XBox One X: PS4.5 Was Just the Bait

E3 2016 was full of surprises, more so than most of the prior year’s shows. The biggest curveball of them all was Microsoft’s announcement of Project Scorpio, now named XBox One X. It is a new console, promised to be the most powerful one ever made. It’s also coming out in holiday 2017. This puts Sony in a bind, but they’ve never been one to let Microsoft walk all over them. PS4 Neo has been confirmed, but we still don’t know much about the upgraded system. It will most likely release before Project Scorpio, but it’s not the real secret Sony is hiding. You see, Sony used PS4 Neo to force Microsoft to show their hand. Now they can move forward with PS5 and position themselves to once again crush the competition. PlayStation’s CEO Reacts to XBox One X: ‘I was surprised’ Andrew House, boss of PlayStation, interview with the Guardian post E3 and revealed some interesting insight into their ultimate console plan. We knew several days before E3 that the PS4 Neo (PS4.5) was real, but Sony had no plans to show it at E3. “The point of confirming the existence of PlayStation 4 Neo and the bare bones of the plan last week was not about disappointing the fan base who would obviously come to E3 with high expectations of all kinds of announcements. From past experience, the worst thing you can do is disappoint and pull the rug away from people. That’s why we went out last week and said, yes, it does exist, but don’t expect to see it at E3. I think it was the right thing to do.” In reality, he’s absolutely right. People expected PS4 Neo news at E3, and by tempering their expectations, Sony was able to set up the proper approach for their epic press conference which wowed the audience with a live orchestra and tons of big game announcements. Sony’s approach is very calculated. House stated that they didn’t want to show the PS4 Neo until they had a proper “range of experiences to showcase.” They don’t have that right now, so there’s no point in showing the system. That being said, Andrew House seemed surprised at Microsoft’s announcement of their hardware: “I was surprised by the step of announcing something over a year ahead of time. The dynamics of the tech industry are such that there’s a much heavier emphasis on immediate gratification than there was. A lot of that is to do with how Apple has very cleverly and elegantly managed the ‘available now’ approach. So yes, that was a slight surprise to me.” Notice how he said “slight surprise.” More on that later, but he went on to say that Sony learned their lesson back in 2013 when they announced PS4 and people wanted to know where the system was. They realized that the industry had changed, and they needed to change with it. Our next extremely important point before we dive into the details and speculation, … Read More